Daniel Figueroa IV
Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday announced the completion of a months-long investigation that led to the seizure of 75 firearms, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of drugs and 100 arrests.
Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey said the bust was one of the largest in the county’s history and would impact the entire state. Ivey was joined by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody for a Wednesday news conference as teams continued to make arrests.
“This is not only the largest in Brevard County,” Ivey said in the news conference. “This is a case that has far reaching tentacles in other counties in our state.”
The seizure included heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency says is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl has become a popular additive to other drugs, particularly heroin, increasing its potency and fatality.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Florida has an above average rate of opioid deaths with fentanyl the leading cause.
The Sheriff’s Office said by dividing the seized fentanyl into typically lethal doses, they nabbed enough to kill 500,000 people.
“What was seized as part of this investigation is literally enough to kill every single resident of Brevard County,” Ivey said.
The Sheriff’s Office said many of the organization’s ring leaders had been previously arrested throughout the six-month investigation and continued trafficking drugs after bonding out.
Ivey said those arrested were sources or distributors of the drugs, including Megan Wilburn, a 31-year-old from Merritt Island who was identified as the top of the trafficking organization. The Sheriff’s Office said she was the main source of supply, purchasing and redistributing the drugs.
“Today our team removed over 100 predators from our community who chose to create and then prey upon the addictions of others for their own personal greed,” Ivey said.
The suspects now face charges ranging from conspiracy and trafficking to racketeering charges.
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